01/03/2012 - 04:00 am

ExpressJet Installs Vertical Lift Modules at its Maintenance Facility

ExpressJet Airlines, Inc. has installed two Vertical Lift Modules (VLMs) to replace bays of shelving at its maintenance facility at Newark Liberty International Airport, Newark, N.J. The facility, which stores parts for aircraft service and maintenance from small fasteners to large air valves, is using the VLMs to reduce the amount of floor space required for parts storage and improve part retrieval efficiency.

The VLMs, which are now being sold and serviced by Sapient Automation, Hatfield, Pa., as the Viper VLM, were originally purchased and serviced by another organization (under the Power Column II brand). Sapient Automation now has the exclusive rights to sell and provide factory replacement parts and service to this VLM in North America.

The Viper VLM is an enclosed high-density storage and retrieval system that consists of two columns of trays in the front and in the back with a robotic extractor that delivers trays to an ergonomically positioned work counter. VLMs take advantage of unused overhead space to reduce the amount of floor space required by traditional shelving by up to 85 percent.

Additionally, the VLMs allow management to retrieve parts inventory more efficiently. "We placed our slow to medium movers, those parts that we don't retrieve on a regular basis for service and maintenance jobs, in the VLMs and kept our fast moving items, along with just a few bulk items, on the remaining shelving," said Gloria Hume, materials services supervisor.

At the ExpressJet maintenance facility, all parts stored in the VLMs are labeled with a location number. To retrieve parts, operators key in the location number using the touch screen controls on each unit, and the VLM automatically delivers the tray containing the part to the work counter.

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